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News & Events > News > 2014 CONUS Cost of Living Allowance Rates

2014 CONUS Cost of Living Allowance Rates

The Defense Department released today its 2014 Continental United States (CONUS) Cost of Living (COLA) rates, which will take effect on January 1, 2014.  Approximately $37 million will be paid to over 23,000 Service members stationed in CONUS in 2014; $6 million less than last year.  While roughly 13,000 members will see a decrease in their CONUS COLA payments, some 10,000 members will see an increase or no change at all, and 11,000 members will no longer receive a CONUS COLA payment. 

CONUS COLA is a taxable supplemental allowance designed to help the offset higher prices in high-cost locations in CONUS that exceed the costs in an average CONUS location. Rates can increase or decrease depending on the prices in a duty location as compared to prices in an average CONUS location.

By law, a contractor provides cost data from each Military Housing Area (MHA) for the major categories of transportation, goods and services, federal income taxes, sales taxes, and miscellaneous expenses.  Data is adjusted to account for the amount of Basic Allowance for Subsistence, an allowance meant to offset the costs for a member's meals, and for cost savings gained from shopping at commissaries and exchanges. This information is then compared to same cost data for an average CONUS location, which serve as a benchmark. The resulting ratio is called an index. By law, a CONUS COLA rate is only prescribed when the index meets a threshold of 108 percent, meaning that the costs for non-housing types of goods and services in a particular location are at least 8 percent more expensive than the standard city.  The index in excess of 108 percent would qualify for CONUS COLA (e.g., a location that is 10 percent more expensive would qualify for a 2 percent COLA index).

For more information on CONUS COLA or to review the 2014 Payout Tables, go to

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